2010 Pennsylvania Code
Title 18 - CRIMES AND OFFENSES
Chapter 55 - Riot, Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses
5511 - Cruelty to animals.

     § 5511.  Cruelty to animals.
        (a)  Killing, maiming or poisoning domestic animals or zoo
     animals, etc.--
            (1)  A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree
        if he willfully and maliciously:
                (i)  Kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal
            of another person or any domestic fowl of another person.
                (ii)  Administers poison to or exposes any poisonous
            substance with the intent to administer such poison to
            any domestic animal of another person or domestic fowl of
            another person.
                (iii)  Harasses, annoys, injures, attempts to injure,
            molests or interferes with a dog guide for an individual
            who is blind, a hearing dog for an individual who is deaf
            or audibly impaired or a service dog for an individual
            who is physically limited.
        Any person convicted of violating the provisions of this
        paragraph shall be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than
        $500.
            (2)  A person commits a felony of the third degree if he
        willfully and maliciously:
                (i)  Kills, maims or disfigures any zoo animal in
            captivity.
                (ii)  Administers poison to or exposes any poisonous
            substance with the intent to administer such poison to
            any zoo animal in captivity.
            (2.1)  (i)  A person commits a misdemeanor of the first
            degree if he willfully and maliciously:
                    (A)  Kills, maims, mutilates, tortures or
                disfigures any dog or cat, whether belonging to
                himself or otherwise. If a person kills, maims,
                mutilates, tortures or disfigures a dog guide for an
                individual who is blind, a hearing dog for an
                individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a
                service dog for an individual who is physically
                limited, whether belonging to the individual or
                otherwise, that person, in addition to any other
                applicable penalty, shall be required to make
                reparations for veterinary costs in treating the dog
                and, if necessary, the cost of obtaining and training
                a replacement dog.
                    (B)  Administers poison to or exposes any
                poisonous substance with the intent to administer
                such poison to any dog or cat, whether belonging to
                himself or otherwise.
                (ii)  Any person convicted of violating the
            provisions of this paragraph shall be sentenced to pay a
            fine of not less than $1,000 or to imprisonment for not
            more than two years, or both. The court may also order a
            presentence mental evaluation. A subsequent conviction
            under this paragraph shall be a felony of the third
            degree. This paragraph shall apply to dogs and cats only.
                (iii)  The killing of a dog or cat by the owner of
            that animal is not malicious if it is accomplished in
            accordance with the act of December 22, 1983 (P.L.303,
            No.83), referred to as the Animal Destruction Method
            Authorization Law.
            (3)  This subsection shall not apply to:
                (i)  the killing of any animal taken or found in the
            act of actually destroying any domestic animal or
            domestic fowl;
                (ii)  the killing of any animal or fowl pursuant to
            the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1225, No.316), known as The
            Game Law, or 34 Pa.C.S. §§ 2384 (relating to declaring
            dogs public nuisances) and 2385 (relating to destruction
            of dogs declared public nuisances), or the regulations
            promulgated thereunder; or
                (iii)  such reasonable activity as may be undertaken
            in connection with vermin control or pest control.
        (b)  Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.--
     A person commits a summary offense if he sells, offers for sale,
     barters, or gives away baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl,
     under one month of age, or rabbits under two months of age, as
     pets, toys, premiums or novelties or if he colors, dyes, stains
     or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens,
     ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits or if he brings or
     transports the same into this Commonwealth. This section shall
     not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby
     chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, or such rabbits, in proper
     facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them
     for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.
        (c)  Cruelty to animals.--
            (1)  A person commits an offense if he wantonly or
        cruelly illtreats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any
        animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of
        care, whether belonging to himself or otherwise, or abandons
        any animal, or deprives any animal of necessary sustenance,
        drink, shelter or veterinary care, or access to clean and
        sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against
        inclement weather and preserve the animal's body heat and
        keep it dry.
            (2)  (i)  Except as provided in subparagraph (ii), a
            person convicted of violating paragraph (1) commits a
            summary offense.
                (ii)  A person convicted for a second or subsequent
            time of violating paragraph (1) commits a misdemeanor of
            the third degree if all of the following occurred:
                    (A)  The action or omission for which the person
                was convicted for a subsequent time was performed on
                a dog or cat.
                    (B)  The dog or cat was seriously injured,
                suffered severe physical distress or was placed at
                imminent risk of serious physical harm as the result
                of the person's action or omission.
            (3)  This subsection shall not apply to activity
        undertaken in normal agricultural operation.
        (d)  Selling or using disabled horse.--A person commits a
     summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which
     by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause,
     could not be worked or used without violating the laws against
     cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any
     such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse
     to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane
     keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.
        (e)  Transporting animals in cruel manner.--A person commits
     a summary offense if he carries, or causes, or allows to be
     carried in or upon any cart, or other vehicle whatsoever, any
     animal in a cruel or inhumane manner. The person taking him into
     custody may take charge of the animal and of any such vehicle
     and its contents, and deposit the same in some safe place of
     custody, and any necessary expenses which may be incurred for
     taking charge of and keeping the same, and sustaining any such
     animal, shall be a lien thereon, to be paid before the same can
     lawfully be recovered, or the said expenses or any part thereof
     remaining unpaid may be recovered by the person incurring the
     same from the owner of said creature in any action therefor.
        For the purposes of this section, it shall not be deemed
     cruel or inhumane to transport live poultry in crates so long as
     not more than 15 pounds of live poultry are allocated to each
     cubic foot of space in the crate.
        (e.1)  Transporting equine animals in cruel manner.--
     Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person commits a
     summary offense for each equine animal if the person carries, or
     causes or allows to be carried, any equine animal in or upon any
     conveyance or other vehicle whatsoever with two or more levels
     stacked on top of one another. A person who violates this
     subsection on a second or subsequent occasion commits a
     misdemeanor of the third degree for each equine animal
     transported.
        (f)  Hours of labor of animals.--A person commits a summary
     offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits
     any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare,
     mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or
     in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24
     hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.
        Nothing in this subsection contained shall be construed to
     warrant any persons leading, driving, riding or walking any
     animal a less period than 15 hours, when so doing shall in any
     way violate the laws against cruelty to animals.
        (g)  Cruelty to cow to enhance appearance of udder.--A person
     commits a summary offense if he kneads or beats or pads the
     udder of any cow, or willfully allows it to go unmilked for a
     period of 24 hours or more, for the purpose of enhancing the
     appearance or size of the udder of said cow, or by a muzzle or
     any other device prevents its calf, if less than six weeks old,
     from obtaining nourishment, and thereby relieving the udder of
     said cow, for a period of 24 hours.
        (h)  Specific violations; prima facie evidence of
     violation.--
            (1)  (i)  A person commits a summary offense if the
            person crops, trims or cuts off, or causes or procures to
            be cropped, trimmed or cut off, the whole or part of the
            ear or ears of a dog.
                (ii)  The provisions of this paragraph shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from cropping, trimming or cutting
            off the whole or part of the ear or ears of a dog when
            the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent any person
            from causing or procuring the cropping, trimming or
            cutting off of a dog's ear or ears by a veterinarian.
                (iii)  The possession by any person of a dog with an
            ear or ears cropped, trimmed or cut off and with the
            wound or incision site resulting therefrom unhealed, or
            any such dog being found in the charge or custody of any
            person or confined upon the premises owned by or under
            the control of any person, shall be prima facie evidence
            of a violation of this subsection by the person except as
            provided for in this subsection.
                (iv)  A person who procures the cropping, trimming or
            cutting off of the whole or part of an ear or ears of a
            dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include
            the name of the attending veterinarian and the date and
            location at which the procedure was performed. The record
            shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is
            unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during
            that period of time.
            (2)  (i)  A person commits a summary offense if the
            person debarks a dog by cutting, causing or procuring the
            cutting of its vocal cords or by altering, causing or
            procuring the alteration of any part of its resonance
            chamber.
                (ii)  The provisions of this paragraph shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from cutting the vocal cords or
            otherwise altering the resonance chamber of a dog when
            the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent a person
            from causing or procuring a debarking procedure by a
            veterinarian.
                (iii)  The possession by any person of a dog with the
            vocal cords cut or the resonance chamber otherwise
            altered and with the wound or incision site resulting
            therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being found in the
            charge or custody of any person or confined upon the
            premises owned by or under the control of any person,
            shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this
            paragraph by the person, except as provided in this
            paragraph.
                (iv)  A person who procures the cutting of vocal
            cords or the alteration of the resonance chamber of a dog
            shall record the procedure. The record shall include the
            name of the attending veterinarian and the date and
            location at which the procedure was performed. The record
            shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is
            unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during
            that period of time.
            (3)  (i)  A person commits a summary offense if the
            person docks, cuts off, causes or procures the docking or
            cutting off of the tail of a dog over five days old.
                (ii)  The provisions of this paragraph shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from docking, cutting off or
            cropping the whole or part of the tail of a dog when the
            dog is at least 12 weeks of age and the procedure is
            performed using general anesthesia and shall not prevent
            a person from causing or procuring the cutting off or
            docking of a tail of a dog by a veterinarian as provided
            in this paragraph.
                (iii)  The provisions of this section shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from surgically removing, docking,
            cutting off or cropping the tail of a dog between five
            days and 12 weeks of age if, in the veterinarian's
            professional judgment, the procedure is medically
            necessary for the health and welfare of the dog. If the
            procedure is performed, it shall be done in accordance
            with generally accepted standards of veterinary practice.
                (iv)  The possession by any person of a dog with a
            tail cut off or docked and with the wound or incision
            site resulting therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being
            found in the charge or custody of any person or confined
            upon the premises owned by or under the control of any
            person, shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of
            this paragraph by the person, except as provided in this
            paragraph.
                (v)  A person who procures the cutting off or docking
            of a tail of a dog shall record the procedure. The record
            shall include the name of the attending veterinarian and
            the date and location at which the procedure was
            performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound
            or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred
            with the dog during that period of time.
            (4)  (i)  A person commits a summary offense if the
            person surgically births or causes or procures a surgical
            birth.
                (ii)  The provisions of this section shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from surgically birthing a dog
            when the dog is anesthetized and shall not prevent any
            person from causing or procuring a surgical birthing by a
            veterinarian.
                (iii)  The possession by any person of a dog with a
            wound or incision site resulting from a surgical birth
            unhealed, or any such dog being found in the charge or
            custody of any person or confined upon the premises owned
            by or under the control of any person, shall be prima
            facie evidence of a violation of this paragraph by the
            person, except as provided in this paragraph.
                (iv)  A person who procures the surgical birth of a
            dog shall record the procedure. The record shall include
            the name of the attending veterinarian and the date and
            location at which the procedure was performed. The record
            shall be kept as long as the wound or incision site is
            unhealed and shall be transferred with the dog during
            that period of time.
                (v)  This paragraph shall not apply to personnel
            required to comply with standards to minimize pain to an
            animal set forth in section 2143(a)(3) of the Animal
            Welfare Act (Public Law 89-544, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.),
            trained in accordance with section 2143(d) of the Animal
            Welfare Act, who work in a federally registered research
            facility required to comply with the Animal Welfare Act
            under the guidance or oversight of a veterinarian.
            (5)  (i)  A person commits a summary offense if the
            person cuts off or causes or procures the cutting off of
            the dewclaw of a dog over five days old.
                (ii)  The provisions of this paragraph shall not
            prevent a veterinarian from cutting the dewclaw and shall
            not prevent a person from causing or procuring the
            procedure by a veterinarian.
                (iii)  The possession by any person of a dog with the
            dewclaw cut off and with the wound or incision site
            resulting therefrom unhealed, or any such dog being found
            in the charge or custody of any person or confined upon
            the premises owned by or under the control of any person,
            shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this
            paragraph by the person, except as provided in this
            paragraph.
                (iv)  A person who procures the cutting off of the
            dewclaw of a dog shall record the procedure. The record
            shall include the name of the attending veterinarian and
            the date and location at which the procedure was
            performed. The record shall be kept as long as the wound
            or incision site is unhealed and shall be transferred
            with the dog during that period of time.
        (h.1)  Animal fighting.--A person commits a felony of the
     third degree if he:
            (1)  for amusement or gain, causes, allows or permits any
        animal to engage in animal fighting;
            (2)  receives compensation for the admission of another
        person to any place kept or used for animal fighting;
            (3)  owns, possesses, keeps, trains, promotes, purchases,
        steals or acquires in any manner or knowingly sells any
        animal for animal fighting;
            (4)  in any way knowingly encourages, aids or assists
        therein;
            (5)  wagers on the outcome of an animal fight;
            (6)  pays for admission to an animal fight or attends an
        animal fight as a spectator; or
            (7)  knowingly permits any place under his control or
        possession to be kept or used for animal fighting.
     This subsection shall not apply to activity undertaken in a
     normal agricultural operation.
        (i)  Power to initiate criminal proceedings.--An agent of any
     society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals,
     incorporated under the laws of the Commonwealth, shall have the
     same powers to initiate criminal proceedings provided for police
     officers by the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure. An
     agent of any society or association for the prevention of
     cruelty to animals, incorporated under the laws of this
     Commonwealth, shall have standing to request any court of
     competent jurisdiction to enjoin any violation of this section.
        (j)  Seizure of animals kept or used for animal fighting.--
     Any police officer or agent of a society or association for the
     prevention of cruelty to animals incorporated under the laws of
     this Commonwealth, shall have power to seize any animal kept,
     used, or intended to be used for animal fighting. When the
     seizure is made, the animal or animals so seized shall not be
     deemed absolutely forfeited, but shall be held by the officer or
     agent seizing the same until a conviction of some person is
     first obtained for a violation of subsection (h.1). The officer
     or agent making such seizure shall make due return to the
     issuing authority, of the number and kind of animals or
     creatures so seized by him. Where an animal is thus seized, the
     police officer or agent is authorized to provide such care as is
     reasonably necessary, and where any animal thus seized is found
     to be disabled, injured or diseased beyond reasonable hope of
     recovery, the police officer or agent is authorized to provide
     for the humane destruction of the animal. In addition to any
     other penalty provided by law, the authority imposing sentence
     upon a conviction for any violation of subsection (h.1) shall
     order the forfeiture or surrender of any abused, neglected or
     deprived animal of the defendant to any society or association
     for the prevention of cruelty to animals duly incorporated under
     the laws of this Commonwealth and shall require that the owner
     pay the cost of the keeping, care and destruction of the animal.
        (k)  Killing homing pigeons.--A person commits a summary
     offense if he shoots, maims or kills any antwerp or homing
     pigeon, either while on flight or at rest, or detains or entraps
     any such pigeon which carries the name of its owner.
        (l)  Search warrants.--Where a violation of this section is
     alleged, any issuing authority may, in compliance with the
     applicable provisions of the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal
     Procedure, issue to any police officer or any agent of any
     society or association for the prevention of cruelty to animals
     duly incorporated under the laws of this Commonwealth a search
     warrant authorizing the search of any building or any enclosure
     in which any violation of this section is occurring or has
     occurred, and authorizing the seizure of evidence of the
     violation including, but not limited to, the animals which were
     the subject of the violation. Where an animal thus seized is
     found to be neglected or starving, the police officer or agent
     is authorized to provide such care as is reasonably necessary,
     and where any animal thus seized is found to be disabled,
     injured or diseased beyond reasonable hope of recovery, the
     police officer or agent is authorized to provide for the humane
     destruction of the animal. The cost of the keeping, care and
     destruction of the animal shall be paid by the owner thereof and
     claims for the costs shall constitute a lien upon the animal. In
     addition to any other penalty provided by law, the authority
     imposing sentence upon a conviction for any violation of this
     section may require that the owner pay the cost of the keeping,
     care and destruction of the animal. No search warrant shall be
     issued based upon an alleged violation of this section which
     authorizes any police officer or agent or other person to enter
     upon or search premises where scientific research work is being
     conducted by, or under the supervision of, graduates of duly
     accredited scientific schools or where biological products are
     being produced for the care or prevention of disease.
        (m)  Forfeiture.--In addition to any other penalty provided
     by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for
     any violation of this section may order the forfeiture or
     surrender of any abused, neglected or deprived animal of the
     defendant to any society or association for the prevention of
     cruelty to animals duly incorporated under the laws of this
     Commonwealth.
        (m.1)  Fine for summary offense.--In addition to any other
     penalty provided by law, a person convicted of a summary offense
     under this section shall pay a fine of not less than $50 nor
     more than $750 or to imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or
     both.
        (m.2)  Prohibition of ownership.--Notwithstanding any
     provision of law and in addition to any other penalty provided
     by law, the authority imposing sentence upon a conviction for
     any violation of this section may order the prohibition or
     limitation of the defendant's ownership, possession, control or
     custody of animals or employment with the care of animals for a
     period of time not to exceed the statutory maximum term of
     imprisonment applicable to the offense for which sentence is
     being imposed.
        (n)  Skinning of and selling or buying pelts of dogs and
     cats.--A person commits a summary offense if he skins a dog or
     cat or offers for sale or exchange or offers to buy or exchange
     the pelt or pelts of any dog or cat.
        (o)  Representation of humane society by attorney.--Upon
     prior authorization and approval by the district attorney of the
     county in which the proceeding is held, an association or agent
     may be represented in any proceeding under this section by any
     attorney admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of
     Pennsylvania and in good standing. Attorney's fees shall be
     borne by the humane society or association which is represented.
        (o.1)  Construction of section.--The provisions of this
     section shall not supersede the act of December 7, 1982
     (P.L.784, No.225), known as the Dog Law.
        (p)  Applicability of section.--This section shall not apply
     to, interfere with or hinder any activity which is authorized or
     permitted pursuant to the act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1225,
     No.316), known as The Game Law or Title 34 (relating to game).
        (q)  Definitions.--As used in this section, the following
     words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this
     subsection:
        "Animal fighting."  Fighting or baiting any bull, bear, dog,
     cock or other creature.
        "Audibly impaired."  The inability to hear air conduction
     thresholds at an average of 40 decibels or greater in the better
     ear.
        "Blind."  Having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the
     better eye with correction or having a limitation of the field
     of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field
     subtends an angular distance not greater than 20 degrees.
        "Conveyance."  A truck, tractor, trailer or semitrailer, or
     any combination of these, propelled or drawn by mechanical
     power.
        "Deaf."  Totally impaired hearing or hearing with or without
     amplification which is so seriously impaired that the primary
     means of receiving spoken language is through other sensory
     input, including, but not limited to, lip reading, sign
     language, finger spelling or reading.
        "Domestic animal."  Any dog, cat, equine animal, bovine
     animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.
        "Domestic fowl."  Any avis raised for food, hobby or sport.
        "Equine animal."  Any member of the Equidae family, which
     includes horses, asses, mules, ponies and zebras.
        "Normal agricultural operation."  Normal activities,
     practices and procedures that farmers adopt, use or engage in
     year after year in the production and preparation for market of
     poultry, livestock and their products in the production and
     harvesting of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural,
     silvicultural and aquicultural crops and commodities.
        "Physically limited."  Having limited ambulation, including,
     but not limited to, a temporary or permanent impairment or
     condition that causes an individual to use a wheelchair or walk
     with difficulty or insecurity, affects sight or hearing to the
     extent that an individual is insecure or exposed to danger,
     causes faulty coordination or reduces mobility, flexibility,
     coordination or perceptiveness.
        "Zoo animal."  Any member of the class of mammalia, aves,
     amphibia or reptilia which is kept in a confined area by a
     public body or private individual for purposes of observation by
     the general public.
     (Dec. 12, 1973, P.L.387, No.137, eff. imd.; Apr. 28, 1978,
     P.L.202, No.53, eff. 60 days; July 10, 1980, P.L.518, No.107,
     eff. 60 days; Dec. 21, 1984, P.L.1210, No.230, eff. 60 days;
     July 8, 1986, P.L.442, No.93, eff. July 1, 1987; Dec. 16, 1986,
     P.L.1671, No.191, eff. 60 days; Apr. 29, 1994, P.L.146, No.24,
     eff. 60 days; July 6, 1995, P.L.238, No.27, eff. 60 days; Oct.
     18, 2000, P.L.605, No.80, eff. 60 days; June 25, 2001, P.L.694,
     No.64, eff. 60 days; Dec. 9, 2002, P.L.1439, No.183, eff. 60
     days; Dec. 8, 2004, P.L.1789, No.236, eff. imd.; Aug. 27, 2009,
     P.L.372, No.38)

        2009 Amendment.  Act 38 amended subsecs. (h) and (h.1),
     effective immediately as to (h) and 60 days as to (h.1).
        2004 Amendment.  Act 236 amended subsec. (c) and added
     subsec. (m.2).
        2002 Amendment.  Act 183 amended subsec. (a)
        2001 Amendment.  Act 64 added subsec. (e.1) and the defs. of
     "conveyance" and "equine animal" in subsec. (q).
        1995 Amendment.   Act 27 amended subsecs. (a) and (q) and
     added subsec. (m.1).
        1994 Amendment.   Act 24 amended subsec. (j) and added
     subsec. (o.1).
        1986 Amendments.  Act 93 amended subsecs. (a) and (p) and Act
     191 amended subsecs. (a), (c), (i), (j), (p) and (q) and added
     subsec. (h.1).
        1986 Partial Repeal.  Section 7 of Act 93 of 1986 (which
     enacted Title 34 (Game)) provided that section 5511 is repealed
     insofar as it relates to Subchapter E of Chapter 23 of Title 34
     (Game).
        References in Text.  The act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1225,
     No.316), known as The Game Law, referred to in subsec. (a), was
     repealed by the act of July 8, 1986 (P.L.442, No.93). The
     subject matter is now contained in Title 34 (Game).
        Cross References.  Section 5511 is referred to in sections
     3702, 3705, 3708, 3710, 3716 of Title 22 (Detectives and Private
     Police); section 2385 of Title 34 (Game); section 3573 of Title
     42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure).

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